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15 July 2008
World Youth Day 2008, an international Catholic event being held in Australia, has drawn an estimated 100,000 people to the country this week, including Pope Benedict XVI. Australian immigration authorities have been busy dealing with the upsurge in visitors.
"[The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC)] has worked closely with World Youth Day event organisers in preparing for this special occasion," a spokesman said. "Our staff have been busy granting about 70,000 World Youth Day visas in the months leading up to the event."
DIAC also stated that many people obtained their visas through other means, such as Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) visas. In addition, approximately 4,000 people traveled from New Zealand for the event.
DIAC estimates that the number of travelers arriving for World Youth Day will rival the record 110,000 foreign tourists who attended the Sydney Olympics in 2000.